The Big Picture

A NOTE FROM JANET: Before I begin this post, I want to thank each of you who donated through this website to help me provide the Jesus: Got Questions? gospel to children.

Your gifts will enable the Pocket Testament League to give more than fifteen thousand copies to children, free of charge. You have blessed a lot of kids you will never know this side of heaven but will one day know in heaven.

I’m grateful for your compassionate help with this important, life-changing project. The gospels will be sent out shortly to all who have ordered. Pray that the Lord will bless our efforts and use those gospels to help children understand and receive salvation in Christ.

You helped make this Easter special for a lot of kids. We will keep the donation button on the website dedicated to this project through the rest of this week.

And, again, thank you for wanting to help.

Is it odd to say I enjoyed two funerals?

This past week, I attended two funerals.

It seems strange to say this, but I enjoyed both of those services. Heaven gained two godly women last week. They each left a legacy of faith, love, and grace to their family and friends. I left both services saddened by the losses their families will feel and reminded of the potential every life can make in our world. I start this week encouraged to live with the priorities those women shared.

Those two women were incredibly popular with the people they knew. Proverbs 31 is about a godly woman, and Proverbs 31 passages were quoted by their grandkids during both services. I hope my grandkids will feel that way about me one day. And I wish I had counted the number of times words like grace, love, integrity, and godliness were used for each of them. Funerals are good reminders of how we want to be remembered.

Both of these women would probably roll their eyes and be uncomfortable with the words people said at their funerals. Let’s face it: memorials don’t usually talk about our bad days and character flaws. We all have some. But, when our earthly lives are over, people will probably remember our strengths more than our weaknesses.

Thankfully, that’s what people usually want to remember.

We live our legacy

I hope you all saw the movie Unplanned this past weekend.

You probably won’t hear this on the news, but the film made more than $7 million on its opening weekend. A lot of people saw this film and I’m glad. It will be almost impossible for people to view abortion in the same way.

Abby Johnson changed Planned Parenthood forever. This movie will probably impact more lives than she will ever know this side of heaven. Abby Johnson had no idea that God would use her life like he did. She just knew the right thing to do—and did it.

Her funeral sermon will include the story the movie portrays. Interestingly, Abby Johnson would wish it wouldn’t.

Is our legacy about fame or favor?

All of us have “movies” made about our lives.

Yours will probably not be measured by box office sales, but it will be measured. Remember to evaluate your success and significance like God does.

He redeemed Abby Johnson’s choices for a greater good, but she would be the first to admit she would rather have made different choices from the beginning. She would trade her moments of fame for a legacy of favor. She shared her story of redemption with the world, but she would rather have chosen a different story.

The key is in the before and after

All of us would like to think we are going to leave a godly legacy, but we tend to evaluate that legacy like the world does. We tend to measure our moments, but God measures our lives. It’s probably a better goal to want a good funeral sermon than a hit movie.

I imagine you have quoted Proverbs 3:5–6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” But do you know what comes before and after those favorite verses? It’s interesting!

Proverbs 3:3–4 says, “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.”

I think sometimes we shoot for the “straight path” but aim for it only in the moment. God’s word teaches us to be “steadfast” in our love and faithfulness. We are to wear those qualities on the inside and the outside and then we find favor with God and man.

Maybe we are aiming too low. We tend to strive for faithful moments, but God has told us to lead a faithful life.

The key to a faithful life is found in Proverbs 3:7: “Don’t be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.”

How do we learn to trust God? To not lean on our own understanding? To submit to God and walk straight paths?

We need to realize that there is a higher wisdom than our own. We need to adore and revere our Holy God. And, when we see evil, we can choose to get rid of it rather than tolerate or just complain about it.

Proverbs 3:5–6 can’t be fully understood or obeyed without those verses that come before and after.

Our legacy is about the big picture

Your legacy will be a summary of all your days.

So, I suggest one simple change in our thinking. Instead of thinking about, praying about, and evaluating our “moments,” maybe we should look at the larger picture more often.

Let’s not put so much energy and focus into writing an interesting screenplay. Instead, think about writing your funeral sermon.

That’s the big picture that matters most.